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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 8: There is None Else Beside Him,Part 1

Description

There is None Else Beside Him is the article that encapsulates the entire methodology of Kabbalah. Read this article, and let it guide your exploration into your inner world, en route to discovering the one operating force in reality.

Transcript

Kabbalah Revealed #8
There’s None Else Beside Him, Part 1

Lecture presented for the American television channel, Shalom TV
Anthony Kosinec


•    Bold and indented: Original text of Baal HaSulam
•    Regular: Commentaries of Tony Kosinec
•    lowercase italics: emphasized words
•    Capitalized Italics: titles and transliteration from Hebrew

Hello again, and welcome to Kabbalah Revealed. I’m Tony Kosinec.

In this lesson we are going to look closely at a Kabbalistic article, something that we looked at a few lessons ago, but we are going to look at it in more detail. It’s an article called There’s None Else Beside Him. This article comes from a book called Shamati. (Shamati means “I have heard”). These articles were lessons spoken by Baal HaSulam to his students and his son Rabash (Rav Baruch Shalom Halevi Ashlag) was one of his students and he wrote what his father said, and he kept it in a little personal notebook. This notebook was something that he kept with him all the time. He had a few books that he constantly referred to and this, the directions, the instructions and the words of his father he kept close to him.

Rav Michael Laitman, who is my teacher, and the teacher of Bnei Baruch, was Rav Baruch’s personal assistant. He took care of all of his affairs and was with him all the time. He was his direct disciple. At the time towards the end of Rav Baruch’s life, Rav Laitman was with him. He was with him in the hospital; he was with him during that process. During the time that he had studied with him, Rabash had shown him many texts that he hadn’t seen before and that hadn’t been shared with some of the other students, and Rav was aware of this notebook—he had seen it and borrowed it occasionally to learn from and so on. It was a very precious thing.

When Rabash was on his deathbed, he gave this book to Rav Laitman. Michael Laitman published the book, and it contains beautiful articles describing the inner work of a person. A lot of the work in Kabbalah is technical work—The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Talmud Eser Sefirot), and other technical works, The Tree of Life and The Zohar, which deal with the technical aspects of creation as well as the inner states related to them. These articles, the book Shamati, they are specifically made for the student to find himself, to identify inner states and to connect these inner states to the technical work and the Kabbalistic work as a whole. They contain thought from the highest level of reality.

This particular article, There Is None Else Beside Him, it encapsulates the entire methodology of Kabbalah. There isn’t anything that a person need do or know or consider that’s not in this article. Rabash told Rav Laitman that it would be a good thing if he read this hundreds of times. We will read it once today perhaps if we can get through it. As we do, again, we are doing this only to attract Upper Light and all that you need do as we go through this is to try to connect with the thought and the feeling of the author.

There Is None Else Beside Him
It is written that “there is none else beside Him,” meaning that there is no other power in the world with the ability to do anything against Him. And what man sees, namely, that there are things in the world, which deny the household of above, is because He wills it so.


In other words, there is one power, there is one active force, there is one actor in reality. There is no other authority, there is no other author to anything that occurs in reality, but the fact that we see that the world is built in such a way that there seems to be an opposing force, well this is done on purpose and it’s for our benefit. It needs to be harnessed; it needs to be understood, and it needs to be included in our perception.

And it is deemed a correction, called “the left rejects and the right adducts,” meaning that that which the left rejects is considered correction. This means that there are things in the world, which from the beginning aim to divert a person from the right way, and they reject him from holiness.

The hiddenness of the Creator is not a physical hiddenness. We feel perhaps He is not there, or maybe “I believe in Him,” but the proof for it—we don’t truly claim that if we saw Him stand before us—we already know this. We know that we are not speaking about a physical proof, a physical reality. The hiddenness of the Creator is hidden not just from our physical senses, He is hidden from our inner sensation, our feeling of connection, our faith, our direct sensation in our thoughts. He is hidden from us by our doubts. There is a quality of our inner state, that when we are filled with doubt, then there is a rejection; that is, there is a hiddenness. We feel that it can’t be so and that there is perhaps some force. It’s this sensation, this inner state of hiddenness where the reason for things, or to feel that there could be any kind of a Divine Guidance behind anything, our doubts covers it completely. This is the hiddenness of the Creator and this is His method of teaching us and bringing us along.

This means that there are things in the world, which from the beginning aim to divert a person from the right way, and they reject him from holiness.

It’s built that way; it’s part of the design, this hiddenness of the Creator and this evolution towards the desire to perceive the Creator.
And the benefit from these rejections is that through them a person receives a need and a complete desire for God to help him, since he sees that otherwise he is lost.


This need is actually what Kabbalah defines as prayer. To a Kabbalist, prayer is not words spoken. It’s not something of the mouth; it’s not the repetition of things, words and ideas in a prayer book. It is a gut-level need. It’s something that has occurred in a person’s desire for which there can be no other answer than the thing desired for. And the hiddenness of the Creator and this action of the right and the left hand purposely create a need specifically for the closeness to the Creator. That is, for doubts to be removed, for us to rise above the aspect of our nature that engenders these doubts. And that’s the benefit. This is called “a correction,” this development of this desire. And what is it that happens? How is this benefit felt for a person?
Not only does he not progress in his work, but he sees that he regresses, and he lacks the strength to observe Torah and Mitzvot even if not for Her name.


So we know that the goal is to be able to be like the Creator, to create an inner similarity of form of intention towards the Creator, which would be to bestow without thought of self, without that need, to be completely in bestowal which is called, “for Her Sake (Lishma).” But a person can’t even come close to that so that the sensation that is teaching them and evolving them and building the need is a sensation that they can’t even do this work even if not for Her name, that is, even for themselves they can’t do it. The rejection and doubt is so complete and it’s part of the process, it happens, it is one hand and then the next hand, one hand and the next.
When this happens to a person, it is not happening because there is something wrong with the person, it is happening because it is in the system and it’s built that way.
That only by genuinely overcoming all the obstacles, above reason, he can observe Torah and Mitzvot.


This is the thing that is built for a person—that it is not possible by dealing with a doubt and then with some kind of a filling, a delight at feeling close. These two variations always produce a hiddenness, a sensation of hiddenness, and that the only way that a person can proceed to actually observe Torah and Mitzvot, that is, to become like the Creator, draw close and bond with the Creator, is above that level, above reason.
But he does not always have the strength to overcome above reason, that otherwise he is forced to deviate, God forbid, from the way of the Creator, and even from not for Her name. And he, who always feels that the shattered is greater than the whole, meaning that there are a lot more descents than ascents, and he does not see an end to these predicaments, and he will forever remain outside of holiness, for he sees that it is difficult for him to observe even as little as a jot, unless through overcoming above reason, but he is not always able to overcome. And what shall be the end of it all?
This is the extent of the hiddenness and the need that it evokes in a person. It comes to an extreme expression. That is, the more that a person wants this, the more they truly desire this, the more it appears that they are pushed away. This is a response similar to the response of a parent to a child who is beginning to be an adult—you give them more room, you give them a kind of independence, you step away—and the depth of confusion of that adolescent or the young adult is an extreme situation and it’s done as by a loving father towards a child, this extremity of distancing.


And what shall be the end of it all? [How is it even possible?]
Then he reaches the decision that no one can help him, but God Himself. This causes him to make a heartfelt demand of the Creator to open his eyes and heart, to bring him nearer to eternal adhesion with God.


This is what eventually happens. A true prayer appears within the person, that you can’t fool the Creator, you can’t say one thing and really desire another. This is the kind of prayer that is answered immediately because the Creator is the whole of reality and the force of development responds to those particular conditions that allow for development. That is, there must be something in the creature that allows a higher state to occur for them, and that higher state only happens as a result of a deepening need.


It follows than, that all the rejections he had experienced had come from the Creator.


That means that the rejections he had experienced were not because he was at fault, for not having the ability to overcome, but because these rejections are for those who truly want to draw nearer to God. And in order for such a person not to be satisfied with only a little, namely, not to remain as a little child without knowledge, he receives help from Above so that he will not be able to say that Thank God, he observes Torah and performs good deeds and what else could he ask for?
This action of the Creator, this rejection that was given to him, this doubt that entered him was given to him by the Creator specifically so that he would not remain still, so that he wouldn’t be satisfied with some sensation at a distance, some idea, some belief, in other words, that he wouldn’t function as a child in reality, “oh, there is a God and He will take care of me, and if I ask for something then maybe He will change His attitude towards me and be nice to me and take away this situation.”
This is the way that a child tries to deal with and manipulate a parent, but what is it that a child can do to a parent that would change the quality of the love towards the child? Even in the natural world, in the physical world, the love of a mother or a father to the child, it encompasses everything for the child. There is nothing that will change it. It is constant. So, for the person not to remain this way would be not to be satisfied with this condition, that this force—both of drawing close and of pushing away—is to evolve us into a spiritual adult.
And only if that person has a true desire, he will receive help from Above.


That’s the condition. Only if a person has a true desire, of course there will be help from Above. It’s not that the Creator changed his attitude towards the person; it’s that the person changed their need for the Creator. Their desire, which is a vessel, opened a place in which perception of the Creator can occur, so it does occur. It’s a law. It happens. The answer to the prayer depends totally on the change in attitude within the creature.


And he is constantly shown how his faults in his present state; that is, he is sent thoughts and views, which work against his efforts. This is in order for him to see that he is not one with the Lord.


In other words, this contrast of feeling rejection and thoughts of doubt, they are not his. They are an action of the Creator on him while he is becoming a spiritual adult, while he is growing. Specifically, the hiddenness comes from, must be experienced as doubt and must go against his efforts no matter how broad or how good or how precise he may have been progressing up until that point. It must undermine all of that purposely. And that is so that he can see a contrast between where he is now in a particular state, and what he needs to overcome above reason, where he needs to be next because to be satisfied you think, “oh, I’m one with the Lord, I’m fine, I had this perception, I’m ok, I know everything now, I have got some kind of belief on this level.” No, the Creator wants to create a creature and fill it totally with a bonding, with the Light. It has to be unbounded. So, we have to see how unlike the next level we are so that we build this need again to move towards that level.


And as much as he overcomes, he always sees how he is found in a position farther from holiness than others, who feel one with the Lord.


But he, on the other hand, always has his complaints and demands, and he cannot justify the behavior of the Creator, and how he behaves toward him. And it pains him that he is not one with the Lord, until he comes to feel that he has no part in holiness whatsoever.


A person sees his situation change. He is not satisfied with the things that others around him are satisfied with. He comes to a point of complete preparation, that is, of complete doubt and complete despair. This is one of the things that occurs. And this is a preparation. It’s despair towards the goal, not a despair towards life, that life is not worthwhile, but that according to the goal that he has determined, his intention to bond with the Creator, he sees that it is completely beyond his capability, that is, the capability of his created nature in the will to receive, and his actions, his intelligence. It can’t be done that way.
And although he is occasionally awakened from above, which momentarily revives him, but soon he falls into an abyss. However, this is what causes him to come to realize that only God can help and really draw him closer.


Even the enlightenment, even the awakenings that he receives will not do the job. It must continue to the point where there is a complete need only for the Creator, only for the Light. One has to really abandon this idea that there is something we can do with our actions in this world. No action by a person will do anything to advance this. Only the growing inner desire will change anything.


A man must always try and cleave to the Creator, namely, that all his thoughts will be about Him. That is to say, that even if he is in the worst state, from which there cannot be a greater descent, he should not leave His domain, namely, think that there is another authority which prevents him from entering into holiness, and which has the power to either benefit or harm.
And that is the substance of doubt, that there is some other reason for this occurring—either it is me or the world is conditioned in a certain way, my environment prevents me—that there is something other than the Creator doing all of these actions.


That is, he must not think that there is a matter of the power of the Other Side (Sitra Achra), which does not allow man to do good deeds and follow God’s ways; but he should think that all is done by the Creator.


The Ba’al Shem Tov said, that he who says that there is another power in the world, namely shells, is in a state of “serving other gods,” that it is not necessarily the thought of heresy that is the sin, but if he thinks that there is another authority and force apart from the Creator, by that he is committing a sin.
That’s it’s only the giving up of the goal, of thinking that there is another power that draws a person away, to make a decision that it is not only one force, it is not all the Creator. This distance is called “sin.”


Furthermore, he who says that man has his own authority, meaning that he says that yesterday he himself did not want to follow God’s ways, that too is considered to be committing the sin of heresy. Meaning that he does not believe that only the Creator leads the world.


All the thoughts that we have, all the feelings that we have and all of the choices that we make based on those until we come to equivalence of form with the Creator, until we begin to sense spirituality, every single one of these things is placed in us. These are all actions of the Creator. Man has no authority in this. Only his desire, only the growing of the vessel, specifically in a need for the Light, this true prayer is the only action of man and the only thing necessary to ascend.
We will continue this article next time. Join us then.

 

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